Introduction

 

Agriculture is the mainstay of the State economy and more than 66% of its working population derive their livelihood from agriculture. The following table shows the working population depending on agriculture as per the Census of 1991 :-

 

District/State   Total Population   Total working    Working as    Working as        P.C. of workers engaged                                                   Population        cultivators     agriculture               in agriculture                                                                                                 labourers 

        1                    2                       3                       4                    5                                 6

    Assam         22414322          6992056            3559117         844964                      62.99

1. Dhubri          1332475            361883              184811           079118                      72.93

2. Kokrajhar        800659           271189               177743           43429                        81.57

3. Bongaigaon   807523          144322               137089            41709                      123.89

4. Goalpara        668138          194682               106862            36642                        73.71

5. Borpeta         1385659         366332                213859           60891                        75.00

6. Nalbari          1016390         269332                134043           49522                        68.16

7. Kamrup           2000071        574174               201229           47157                        43.26

8. Darrang           1298860        405743               243113            56871                       73.93

9. Sonitpur          1424287        502421               239071            58403                       59.21

10.Lakhimpur        751517        241552               164645            14908                       74.33

11.Dhemaji            478830        160833               128165             7999                       84.66

12.Morigaon          639682        184695                127945           21337                      80.83

13.Nagaon           1893171        553993                303507           81800                      69.55

14.Golaghat           828096        293248                161305           24357                     63.31

15.Jorhat                871206       299539                 132484           15969                     49.56

16.Sibsagar           9079983      331439                 147747           20693                     50.82

17.Dibrugarh         1042457      361269                 114328            22266                     37.81

18.Tinsukia             962298       351237                 124368           20439                     41.23

19 .Karbi-

     Anglong             662723       252123                 190604           16469                     82.13

20.N.C.Hills             150801         57751                    33328             1146                    59.69

21.Karimganj           827063       222625                    96051          37036                    59.78

22.Hailakandi           449048       130642                    60647          22713                    63.81

23.Cachar                1215385      361037                  136092          62630                    55.04

 

Source : Statistical Hand Book, Assam by Directorate of Economics and Statistics,Assam,p.4.5 and 20 to 27.

 

(b)Land reclamation and utilisation :-

In the early part of the nineteenth century, there were large tracts of Government waste lands were subsequently opened up with the influx of immigrants. At the same time large tracts of waste-lands have also been brought under crops. The following are the land utilization statistics of the State of Assam in 1981-82.1

 

 

 

 

 

From the above fingers it is seen that fallows lands in the plains districts of the State constitute about 2.1 per cent of the total cadastral area. These included practically all unsettled lands,vast areas of which are either hills or low lying areas unfit for cultivation. The net area sown in the State comes to 32.5 per cent in the plains districts and 1.8 per cent in the bill districts.

Cultivable Waste : The report of the Technical committee on cultivable waste land (1963-66)revealed that the area of waste land in the plains district of the State was 1,25,346,910 hectares of which 49,112,241 hectares were not suitable for reclamation. The committee further,pointed out that only 14,228,574 hectares of land were available for cultivation after reclamation by manual labour. If reclamation is done by mechanised process,a further area of 23.393,840 hectares will be available for cultivation. Unauthorised occupation of Government waste land, grazing reserves, etc.,had also reduced the area of cultivable waste land available for settlement. According to the Technical committee,an area of 26,440,046 hectares was under encroachment in the State in 1963.

The Committee has also observed that prior to that survey the cultivable waste land was erroneously and loosely used by people and by some Government agencies to include practically all unsettled lands,the waste areas of which were known to be either hills, low lying areas of rock lands.

In 1981-82,the area of cultivable waste land in the plains district of the State decreased to 104,000 hectares. Lakhimpur district had the largest area of cultivable waste land 24,000 hectares and Sonitpur district,the lowest 300 hectares among the plains district of Assam. Cultivable waste land area in other plains districts of the State were as follows : Goalpara, 3000 hectares, Dhubri, 5000 hectares,Kokrajhar, 400 hectares, Kamrup, 2000 hectares, Nalbari, 2000 hectares Darrang, 11000 hectares, Nagaon, 11000 hectares, Jorhat, 9000 hectares, Goalghat, 6000 hectares, Sibsagar,1000 hectares, Dibrugarh, 13000 hectares, Cachar, 4000 hectares and Karimaganj 4000 hectares.2

The geographical surveyed area of cultivable waste in the State in 1975-76 became 1,45,000 hectares which is definitely an increase over the 1963-65 figure. It was due probably to formation of new char lands in riverine areas, reclamation of low swamps through embankments and bunds and also clearance of unclassed forest lands.

Afforestation : As per Government report of Land Settlement Policy (1968), total area of reserve forest in Assam was 13.34% of the total area of the State. In 1971. the Government of Assam took decision to increase the percentage of reserve forest to 33. By 1976-77, the area increased and formed 21.03% of the total area of forest to 33. By 1976-7,the area increased and formed 21.03% of the total area of the State and till 1993 the area was 17567.51 sq. km. Which formed 39 per cent of the total geographical area of the State. Under Soil Conservation also afforestation schemes are taken besides the tree-plantation scheme undertaken by the Forest Department of the State.

(c)Agriculture including horticulture :

Soils and Crops: The general characteristic of the Assam's soil is its acidity. Soils on the old alluvium and on the hills which are slowly undergoing a weathering process and constantly washed down by rains are the most acidic. New alluvial soils representing the lands on the river banks are less acidic and often neutral and even alkaline. The soil acidity to increase with the rainfall and the heaviness of the soil. The phospheric contents are good in the upper Brahmaputra Valley where tea is grown but,definitely low in the Lower Assam Valley. The percentages of the nitrogen and organic matters are satisfactory. They are particularly high in the low lying soils. Soils of the Surma valley are not much different from those of the Brahmaputra Valley. There is an abundance of murshes and lakes in the Cachar district. The soils of these contain a large percentage of organic matters. The soils of the hills districts contain a high proportion of nitrogen and organic matter. Heavy clays with a high percentage of nitrogen in low land areas give a good return of rice,while sandy loams above inundation level give a good yield of jute. Hence tea, rice and jute are the main crops of Assam. In the hills,fruit trees respond quickly to heavy clays which have a high percentage of organic matters.

The soils of the three natural divisions of the State have the following characteristics features.4

Soils of the Brahmaputra Valley : The Soils of the Brahmaputra alluvium are partly new or recent and partly old. The variation in the mechanical composition in mainly a result of the varying composition of the river borne materials deposited at different times and other different conditions. On an average,the soils are of a sandy loam type. The acid soluble portion does not generally exceed 20 per cent. The contents of potassium are available and total of the riparian tract or the alluvial soils is quite good but definitely low in the soils of the other tracts. The percentage of organic matters and nitrogen are fairly satisfactory. They are particularly high in the case of bil soils. All the soils are acidic and the phosphorous values of the aqueous suspension vary from 4.5 to 6.0. They are infertile tracts so far as tea is concerned within the tea zone. Where the phosphorous values may be as high as 7.6 to 8.0. The recent alluvium has generally a high phosphorous even greater than 7.0 whereas old alluvial soils have a very low phosphorous. The percentage of total (acid soluble)magnesium is relatively greater than that of calcium,but the available (replaceable)manganese is definitely lower than calcium. This is peculiar to all the soils of Assam.

 

Soils of Surma Valley : Chemically,the soils are not very different from those of the Brahmaputra Valley except for some local variations. The soils are,as a general rule,of a finer texture and as such the material soluble in HCL is greater. In other respects e.g.,the percentage of the different constitutions,the soils are not much dif-ferent. The Valley is characterised by its swampy nature and the abundance of bils, the soils of which contain large percentages of organic matter. The soils on the tillas and the plateaus of Cachar differ from the est only in so far as they occupy a higher level.

 

Soils of Hills districts: The main differences between these soils and those of the other two divisions are in the high contents of organic matters and nitrogen. This may be a result of the comparatively virgin nature of the hill soils. Both chemical and mechanical composition show great variations.

 

Soils of Sibsagar vary from sandy loam to sandy,while soil of Lakhimpur is sandy. On other hand, soils of Nagaon and Darrang vary from sandy loam to clayey. Soils of Kamrup and Goalpara vary from sandy to clay-loams. Except in Kamrup, in all other districts Nitrogen contents are high. Soils of Lakhimpur and Sibsagar are mostly acidic while that of Kamrup are acidic in certain areas and alkaline in others.

 

Soils of Cachar is, however, clayey and some of them are fairly heavy clays. Nitrogen contents are high and the soil is highly acidic.

 

Major and subsidiary crops including garden crops :

Paddy, Jute, Mustard, Sugarcane, Pulses, and Tea are major crops and Tobacco, Wheat, Maize, Potato, Vegetables and Fruits, Banana, Papaya, Oranges, Coconut, Betel-nut, Pineapple, etc.,are the subsidiary crops of the State. Rice is the staple food. The farmers mainly depend upon cultivation of wet Paddy. Among the cash crops Jute is grown on the low lying areas of the bank of the Brahmaputra. In 1991-92 paddy was grown on 25,72,000 hectares of land with an yield of 31.47.000 tonnes.

 

The following statement shows the area,average yield and production of principal crops of the State from 1955-94.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeild rates of some major crops per hectare in kilogram for the last six years register almost a constant trend as will be evident from the following table.

                                1988-89         1989-90        1990-91         1991-92      1992-93           1993-94

 Paddy                        1050              1148             1313               1261          1308                1331

Wheat                          1150                940            1248                1455         1066                1277

Jute                             1265              1509            1632                1537          2011               1598

Sugarcane                 44764            42932           42510             38461        38770              3668

Potato                          5975              5880             7240               7704          6095               N.A.

Rape &

Mustard                           478                445               535                586            476               N.A.

(Source – Directorate of Economics and Statistics,Assam;Statistical Hand Book,1991,p.49,1992  ,p.57 ,1993,p.71)

Fluctuation in yield rate generally occurs due to flood, drought-or pests depending in quantum of rain or humidity in air.

Flood,rainfall textural peculiarities of the soil and above all the farming practices are the factors upon which cultivation of the crops largely depends. During the rainy season,all the arable lands are covered with crops. Besides providing water, the drains and canals arounds the farms from natural enclosures which protect the crops from stray cattle. In the winter season,however,when the fields become dry,cattle,goats and buffaloes are allowed to graze in the fields most of which are without any permanent enclosures. As a result, rabi crops are grown only in small fields which are properly fenced. The dry season sets in from October and lasts till April. During this period most of the tributaries of the Brahmaputra either go dry or become absolutely shallow. Minor irrigation projects have been taken up to augment the water supply in some areas whereas the large areas of the State are yet to derive the benefit from such projects. Sandy characteristics of the soil make the State suffer seriously from occasional drought resulting from insufficient rain,want of proper water-reservoir and drainage system. The crop cycle of the State still depends so much on rain water that most of the fields practically lie fallow from December to early April. A brief account of the cultivation of some of the crops is given below :-

 

Rice : Rice constitutes the staple food of the State and is hence the most important crop. Numerous varieties of rice are grown in the State. But these can be divided into three broad classes according to the seasons of sowing and harvesting,viz,winter paddy,autumn paddy and spring paddy. In 1992-93,paddy,occupied 25,58,00 hectares of lands producing 32,99,000 tonnes of rice. Of these,winter rice occupied an area of 17,76,000 hectares and contributed 24,42,000 tonnes while autumn rice was cultivated over an area of 6,35,000 hectares with a total production of 6,14,000 tonnes. Summer rice occupied an area of 1,48,000 hectares and production amounted to 243,000 tonnes. The following table shows the area,average yield and production of rice in the State since 1955.

Statement showing the Area,Production & Average Yield of Rice in Assam from 1955-56 to 1993-94 Area- Hectares,Production-Tonnes,Yield-kg/hec

 

                    Autumn Rice                        Winter Rice                             Summer Rice

Year         Area   Production    Av.Yield     Area    Production    Av.Yield    Area   Production   Av.Yield

1955-56   358792     338552      956     1237535   1196327       985        4502       6052           1345

1956-57   364856      326720      909    1227855    1278841    1062        9225     12407           1345

1957-58   382540     340832       905     1201091    1183473    1002       9925      13134          1345

1958-59   403281     289590       729     1273739    1283490    1025      12561     16894          1345

1959-60   407090     206352       514     1278539     1451467    1154      10873       9660           888

1960-61   394639     277201       713      1304262    1340981    1046     17253      14820           860

1961-62   430043     304958       722      1312406    1333242    1032     13489      12039           893

1962-63   455045     254277       567      1313379     1216891      942      9096        7971           877

1963-64   441230     331530       763      1304423     1414728     1102      9126        8245          904

1964-65   452518     318251       714       1315347    1460067     1128    11303      10407          921

1965-66   460936     364475       803     13221009    1333568     1025    15601     15391          986

1966-67   465507     264466       578       1358858    1337964      1000    27450   300081         093

1967-68   481691     366293       772        1375328    1388613     1026    29812     32606       1094

1968-69   522414      386815      753        1399159    1566984      1138   31217     35855       1149

1969-70   522213     374115       728        1414844    1364594       979    30541      36851      1207

1970-71     52661     378683       729        1421311     1575377     1226    26265      32659     1244

1971-72   525024     321500       622        1404784     1525842     1133    31543      47124     1494

1972-73   550430     424757       782        1446029      1639690     1151   39159      62864     1605

1973-74   553050     418736       760         1504088     1605022     1083   38550      61680     1600

1974-75   576940     407573       717         1498528     1606291     1088   32052      38256     1194

1975-76   617829     462770       761         1545206     1744129     1146   36010       42097    1169

1976-77   615764      391142       646        1563473      1652242     1073  40043       23597      589

1977-78    598787     424570       720        1577572      1773236     1141  39064       50451    1292

1978-79    607427      424728      711        1585143       1684051    1078  39960       44046    1102

 

 

 

                     Autumn Rice                        Winter Rice                             Summer Rice

Year        Area     Production    Av.Yield    Area    Production    Av.Yield    Area   Production   Av.Yield

1979-80  560050   333822         613     1604690   1598992         1000     38170    42566         1115

1980-81  571708   466423         829     1621973   1948622         1220      35240   44848        1273

1981-82  590000   377057         649     1630200   1820608         1138      34895    34638         993

1982-83  625989   491723         798     1641898    2061472         1275     32856    30058         888

1983-84  616081   464149         765     1662764    2014729         1230     43401    53436       1231

1984-85  606975   464593         778     1670367    1918351         1166     47509    55013       1158

1985-86 640596    507490         805     1778864    2293674         1309     44652    45380       1016

1986-87 530050    334801         642     1708565    1988416         1183     48442    61985        1280

1987-88 596734    413865         705     1685894    2231757         1344     53418    70225       1315

1988-89 597646    424719         722     1668023    1930280         1175     60688    84304        1389

1989-90 628864    447598         723     1765226     2239143        1288     77560   108140       1394

1990-91 608150    522189         873     1801220     2565423        1446     117374  182581      1556

1991-92 638952    494223         785     1804511     2486646        1399     128468  216296      1684

1992-93 635131    613696         982     1776189     2442472        1396     147952  243454      1645

1993-94 636535    586620         937     1797940     2555620        1443     12187    218904      1708

 

Rate of Yield definitely went very low and cause is generally attribute to yearlong unusual cyclone,flood and drought occurring one after other.

Under winter rice comes Sali and Boa. There are various types of Sali paddy such as Monohar Sali, Hati Sali, Lati Sali, Lau Sali, Lau Dumra, Prasad Bhog, Badsah Bhog, Joha,etc. The crop is always transplanted. Seed beds are prepared in relatively high lands and seeds are sown in the months of May and June. The seeds beds are commonly called Kathiatoli. Transplantation is done from July to September and harvesting commenced from November and continues upto the first fortnight of January.

With the onset of the Monsoon the seed beds for Sali paddy are prepared by ploughing and harrowing the land five or six times after which the land is reduced to puddle. The seed which are elected from the largest ears of the previous year's are sown broadcast on the beds in May and June. The seed-beds are manured with cow-dung and compost. Use of Ammonium Sulphate and Urea in seed beds is rather rare. Selected seeds from previous year's crops are steeped in water for two or three days,allowed to germinate and then sown over the beds in May and June. In the meantime,preparation of fields is done for transplanting the seedlings.

Ploughing of the land is started as soon as the soils becomes soft after the reception of the spring rain and the process is repeated till it is reduced to a rich puddle of mud. After the third ploughing, land is harrowed and small embankments (ali) a few inches high surrounding small surrounding small plots of land, intended to retain water,are constructed or repaired where old land existed. Protection of fields from stray cattle is secured by putting up split bamboo fencing near the roads on village paths. Trans-plantation starts from the later part of June and continues till the second week of September. To avoid damage by flood transplantation is done lately in low-lying areas but the yield of late varieties is very poor.

After transplantation,the plants are left practically unattended. No inter-culture is done except weeding when the grass grows thickly. The crop becomes ready for harvest from November and the operation continues till the middle of January.

In Assam,the farmers have not yet taken to mechanised cultivation, scattered and small holdings of farmers in general stand on the way of mechanised farming. Co-operative farming also is not in vogue. Hence almost every farmer does his cultivation work through sheer manual labour.

The finer variety of Sali is commonly called Lahi which ripens earlier. Lahi is grown in higher fields which dry up first at the end of the rains. The Joha is finest variety of rice commonly grown in the State. Boradhan which is a species of Sali paddy is good for making Chira and cakes called pitha.

Baodhan is grown in some low-lying areas of the State. The paddy field is prepared ploughing the land for four to five times and boadhan is sown broadcast in March and April. It ripens in the beginning of January and harvesting is done in the same way as Sali.

Like Sali, there are several varieties of Ahu paddy such as dubarichinga, Kasalath, etc. Although Ahudhan can be sown broadcast or transplanted,the broad-cast type is popular. It is sown relatively on higher areas as its water requirement is the least among all cultivated paddies. The preparation of the field starts in January when ploughing begins. The field is ploughing three times and harrowed, and the clods are broken up by a mallet. Another ploughing and harrowing follow,the seed is sown during March and April. The crop is, harvested by about July, August. The crop is,however,precarious one and is liable to be destroyed by a sudden rise of river. The plants can live under water for as much as a week but it after this time floods do not retire, they are permanently destroyed. Ahu is often grown on the chaparis in conjunction with mustard, and no jungle cutting is,of course, required when the land has been cleared for the oil-seed crops. The same field is seldom cropped for more than three years in succession.

 

Highland Ahu is grown on land which is too high for transplanted rice and is fairly common in the country near the foot of the Himalayas. In its natural state his covered with a scrubby forest,and as the same field is not cropped for more than years in succession. This highland Ahu is seldom combined with pulse and mustard,though there is no reason why one or other of these crops should not be taken from the field in the cold weather. After the land has remained fallow for some time the villagers grow Ahu paddy on it again.

Boro paddy grows in low-lying areas which remain under 0.30 metre to 0.61 metre deep water in December and January when transplantation is done.

High yielding varieties of paddy,namely IR-8,Pusa,Native Taichung-I and Ch-63 are becoming increasingly popular throughout the State. These varieties are grown in the manner described above as Ahu, Sali and Boro paddy corresponding seasons. Average of TN-I and IR-8 is 809.4 kg. Per hectare when grown as Ahu and Sali paddy,1011.7 kg. per hectare when grown as Bodo paddy. The output of the total varieties of paddy varies from 344kg.to 384.45kg.per hectare.

 

Almost in all parts of the State paddy is thrashed at home. Only in certain areas inhabited by immigrants paddy is thrashed in the field itself. The dangories are spread in the courtyard in thick layers and bullocks are driven over these layers for some hours till the last ears separate from the stem. This process is known as Morona mara. The grain is next passed through a sieve and placed in a flat bamboo tray called Kula. It is then jerked into the air and allowed to fall slowly to the ground till gradually the chaff is carried off. After thrashing,the paddy is stored in huge drums called Mer or Duli. They are made of split bamboo and their outer surfaces are plastered over with clay and cowdung. The larger portion of paddy is stored by many cultivators in Bhoral which unlike the houses of the villages,is raised on post well above the level of the ground.

 

Maize : Among cereals,next to rice,maize is an important crop of the State. For some part of the year immigrants and Nepalies depend on maize grains for their food supply. It is mostly cultivated in hills in Jhum during March-April,though some people cultivate in homestead also. In the plains,it is cultivated in bulk as Rabi and Kharf crops. Until recently maize was solely grown for consumption but at present sufficient quantity of it is exported out side the State. Maize covered an area of 18.858 hectares in 1992-93 and produced 12,505 tonnes of grains.

 

Wheat: The cultivation of wheat,though of recent origin,is gaining popularity among the cultivators of the State. This is evident from the fact that area under wheat cultivation has increased from 1,759 hectares in 1955-56 to 63,100 hectares in 1976-77 and its total production in the State was 69,300 tonnes in the same year. The total production of wheat in 1992-93 is 78.719 tonnes and covered an area of 73876 hectares.

 

Pulses : Pulses are mainly in alluvial flat lands near the Brahmaputra. Several kinds of pulse are grown,the most important variety is Mati-mah (phaselous mungo). Other kinds of pulse Magu-mah (phaselus aureus linn), Arahar (cajanus cajan), Masur-mah (lens euslenta), Motor-mah (Pea), Garo-mah (soyabean), Lesera-mah (cowpea) etc. The time of sowing of different kinds of pulses are as follows :-

 

                      Name of Pulses.                                       Time of sowing.

                   1.Masurmah (Lentil)                                    October-November.

                   2.Matimah (Black gram)                               August-September.

                   3.Magumah (Green Gram)                           August-September.

                   4.Garomah (Soyabeen)                                       June-July .

                   5. Leseramah (Cow pea)                                      May-July.

                   6. Motormah (Pea)                                       September-November.

Occasionally pulse are grown in conjunction with summer rice. To grow it separately is sufficient to plough the land for three or four times,if the site is not covered with jungles. Sometimes,seeds are sown over river-flats as soon as the floods subside. Pulse is sown through broadcast amongst the rice stubble or in between the sali plants if the ground is still soft;but this method is not generally in use. When the crop is ripe, mati-mah, masur-mah and magu-mah are pulled out by the roots and left in the field for a few days to dry. The seeds are thrashed out by the cattle; but certain percentage of seeds do not get separated readily from the pods. The rest are thrashed out by a hand thrashing implement. Rabi pulses covered 99,000 hectares in the State in 1992-93 and total yield was 45,000 tonnes.

Gram is also cultivated but on a smaller scale. During the same year it covered an area of 3062 hectares with a total yield of 1506 tonnes.

Mustard : Mustard is normally grown in conjunction with Ahu on riparian flats. The jungle is cut down in February and March. If the land cannot be prepared in time for summer rice,it is allowed to rot upon the grown. What remains is burnt in October,the stumps are dug out and the land is ploughed over four or five times. The seed is sown towards the end of October of the beginning of November. The crop is ready to be pulled out from the field about the middle of February. It is generally left to dry for a few days and then thrashed either in the field in a place prepared for the purpose or near the homestead, where it is thrashed out by the cattle. In 1992-93,area covered in the State by rape mustard was 2,90,121 hectares. Quantity of crop produced during the year was 1,38,005 tonnes.

Sugarcane : Sugarcane is grown on high lands. Tiny patches of sugarcane fields are seen almost everywhere in the State. It is grown in small plots. Government is advancing loan and subsidy to the cane growers to extend the area under sugarcane.

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) is propagated from the tops of the best canes which are cut off at harvest time and kept in a shady place. One of these tops yields on the average above five canes, and as they contain but little juice,the cultivator does not sacrifice much of the gross product of his field in the cause of the reproduction. Four principal varieties of the plant are recognised. The bagi white stands about seven feet high and has yellow canes of a soft juicy texture. The teliya is shorter,harder and thinner and the canes are of deep red or even purple colour. The Bangla or Bam (non-indigenous variety) is larger and more juicy than the indigenous kinds,but yields a smaller proportion of sugar. The Molaha is a hard thin variety of mugi and where grown,is planted round the edge of the field. Ploughing of the land begins in early October and the land is ploughed till it is reduced to a fine tilth. Setts are planted in trenches between mid-January and mid-March. The patch is fenced with split bamboo and there is usually a stout hedge of arahar dal (cajanus indicus); but constant watching is required to scare away jackals and other animals and empty oil tin with a clapper is generally to be seen suspended over each field. The earth from the ridges is heaped about the roots to strengthen their hold upon the soil and this process is continued until the relative positions of ridge and trench are reversed and the canes stand upon ridges with trenches in between. While growing,it is continually hoed and weeded, and about July, August, the leaves are tied up round each cluster of canes to prevent fall.

Preparation of Gur : An indigenous form of mill was generally used for extraction of the juice from sugarcane in the past. It consisted of two wooden rollers fixed side by side is a trough hollowed out of heavy block of wood. This machine has been replaced by crushing machines (Kuhiar Sal) in recent times; but both the types are of the same model. The crushing machines contain these iron rollers one with

ery sharp teeth and other two of soft teeth. At the top of the machine at stout bamboo pole is fixed so that the movement of the rollers is regulated by the pole. The moving power is supplied usually by the villagers themselves but buffaloes are also used. Handful of sugarcane is placed between the rollers and crushed or it is forced through. The juice trickles from the trough upto a vessel kept below.

The juice is then transferred to a big iron cauldron or the furnace. When 50-60 litres of juice are collected,boiling is started. The refuse that accumulates on the surface of the juice when boiling is started out by a small bamboo sieve (Jakki) fixed with a long bamboo handle . Another similar sieve is constantly used for controlling the boiling juice. When the juice is reduced to the proper state,it is transferred to a small boat (Gholani) scooped out of log and stirred for some time to cool it. The finished Gur is stored in earthen pots of tins.

This crop covered an area of 39,919 hectares during 1992-93 in the State. Production total of the crop in the State was 151,977 tonnes in the year.

 

Jute : Assam is one of the largest producers of jute in India. It is the most important cash crop of the State and the recent years,area under jute has increased considerably,but in the past,the cultivation of jute was mostly confined to the villages where immigrants from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) settled. Two varieties of jute are grown in the State, Titamora (corchorus capsularis) grown comparatively in low lying areas and Mithamora (capsularis olitorius)grown on higher areas. Preparation of land starts from February and six to seven ploughings and harrowings are given to obtain a fine tilth; seeds are sown and plants are cut in August and September just at the time of small pod stage. The crop is cut down at ground level and left in the field for two or three days where the leaves are stripped off and tied bundles. The bundles are kept under water for fifteen or more days to rot. When the barks become soft and easily removable from the stem,the bundles are broken in the middle and beaten to and fro in the water till the inner part drops out and only the fibre remains. The fibres are then dried and tied in bundles and they become ready for use. Another important fibre of Rhea (Bochmaria nives) is grown in the garden. This fibre is exceptionally strong and durable and is used in making fishing nets. Jute was grown over 92,501 hectares of land with a total yield of 10,33,679 bales of 180 kgs/per bale in 1992-93.

 

Cotton : It is mainly a cash crop of hills. It is also cultivated in small patches in the plains area here and there. There are two varieties of cotton grown in the hill. The large bolled high growing cotton is known as barkapah (gossypium neglectum) while the smaller bolled species is termed sorukapah (gossypium harbaceum). The former is sown on level ground and has comparatively small number of seeds. It can be ginned easily than the second variety. It is plucked twice and bears for three sea-sons. The sorukapah on the other hand yields only one crop in the year.

The cotton is cultivated in Jhums. Its seeds are sown broadcast generally in conjunction with that of the other crops such as rice, til, maize, chilly, mustard and melon, etc. The field is weeded once or twice and the crop ripens in November to December. Cotton requires rain when it is put into the ground to enable the seed to germinate but afterwards, it thrives best if it gets a good deal of sun heavy rain is liable to rot the stems. Generally,the cotton is sold unginned. There is also little demand for its seeds in local market. But there is a very good foreign demand not for its spinning value but for its coarseness and low wax contents of the fibre. This is not good to spin to thread but ideally suited for mixing with wool. Nearly whole of the product is exported to foreign countries. In 1076-77,cotton covered an area of 3800 hectares. Total production of cotton during the year 1991-92 was 975 bales of 170 kg per bale. This is a very low crop in comparison to Gujrat and Punjab where cotton is a whole year crop.

 

Tobacco : In Assam tobacco is cultivated chiefly for the hookah but in the districts of Goalpara and Cachar, It is an important cash crop. It is grown in the new alluvial soils. The seedlings are raised in carefully manured beds in August and September. At the beginning of November, they are transplanted into the field which has been reduced to a fine tilth and protected from the sun. The bed is lightly hoed two to three times and not more than ten or twelve are allowed to grow on each plant,the reminder being picked off as they appear. The leaves are first gathered in February and March and there is a second but much inferior crop,about 3 months later. If required for chewing,they are either dried in shed or else pressed into hollow bamboo (chunga)and allowed to ferment. When the tobacco is destined for a pipe,leave are piled in heaps till they ferment, then cut into pieces and mixed with molasses when it is ready for hookah. Tobacco was grown over an area of 2110 hectares with a total yield of 1151 tonnes in the State in 1992-93.

 

Potato : The cultivation of potato is done throughout the State but not on a large scale. In the hills,it is cultivated as summer crop (February-March)and winter crop (September-October)and in the plains in September and November. The preparation of soil for sowing goes on from September to November with other vegetables. The small size potato is preferred for seed and sown in time. Earthing operation is taken up after three to four weeks and repeated again after about six weeks. The crop is harvested in the months of January and February. The crop covered an area of 63,583 hectares and total production was 387,535 tonnes,in 1991-92. Potatoes are imported from the neighbouring states as the local production is not sufficient to meet the requirements.

Sweet potato is grown in hills. Nepalese settlers grow this crop in abundance and abandoned Jhum areas are generally utilised for this purpose.

 

 

Ginger : It is an important cash crop of hills especially that of North Cachar Hills district. It is grown as a subsidiary crop for house use in small plots in the plains.

Besides the above mentioned crops,some other crops mainly small millets, mesta, tur (arahar),castor and sesamum are also grown in the State. Though these crops,in comparison to the other principal crops are grown in smaller areas with lesser quantity of production but these are gaining more and more importance and popularity among the cultivators. Efforts are being made to enhance the production and area under cultivation of these crops.

 

Three to four kinds of small millets are grown by the people of this State to supplement their paddy deficiency. Its method of cultivation is very easy and it successfully grows under poor conditions. Its area and total yield,which were 10,476 hectares and 5,226 tonnes respectively in 1988-89 decreased to 9252 hectares and 4992 tonnes respectively in 1992-93,in the State. Mesta forms an important item in the dietary of the people,particularly the hill people. The leaves, young shoots and fruits are eaten,cooked as pot-herbs and included in their daily meals. Its cultivable area decreased from 9394 hectares in 1987-88 to 6516 hectares in 1992-93 and its production decreased from 44,079 bales of 180 kg/bale to 29,792 bales of 180 kg/bale during the same period. Tur, which is neither a cash crop nor a food crop for the people of Assam,is sown in March/April and allowed to grow till September/October when they are inoculated with broad lac. Arahar is the only leguminous crop grown in the State with interest and its cultivable area and production are also increasing every 5 year. Tur (arahar) covered an area of 5969 hectares with an yield of 4.134 tonnes in 1993-94. Sesamum cultivation,usually taken up from June to August,is mostly in favour with the people of Assam only because it requires minimum labour. The crop is harvested from October to December. In 193-94,it covered an area of 14,679 hectares and total yield was 7,201 tonnes in the same year. Castor crop is not only grown in the jhum areas of hills but also in and around the homesteads in all places of Assam. In 1993-94,total production of castor was 706 tonnes and 1765 hectares of land were utilized for this production. Large quantities of castor seeds are annually exported from the State. Linseed covers a small area in the State. In 1992-93,area and production under it were only 8151 hectares and 3,839 tonnes respectively. Chillies are sufficiently grown in the homesteads. The varieties grown are good with regard to pungency and are big and attractive in size. The production of chilies and the area under it were 8,259 tonnes and 12,720 hectares respectively in the year 1992-93.

 

Horticulture and garden crops : The soil and climatic conditions of many parts of Assam are favourable for the cultivation of coffee,rubber,etc. The major horticulture crops grown in the State are banana, pineapple, arecanut, coconut, etc., and minor crops are guava, lemons, papaya, litchi, jackfruits, mango and the like.

 

Banana : Banana (Musa Sapiantum) known as Kali in Assam is an important garden crop of the State. As many as ten varieties of this crop are grown but most important are those locally known as Monohar, Chenichampa, Malbhog, Bhimkal, Purakal, Amrit Sagar and Jahaji,Purakal is used as vegetable; Chenichampa is the high yielding variety and harder; Malbhog is the medium yielder and has very pleasant flavour; Bhimkal is the considered cool and wholesome; Jahaji, Malbhog and Monohar are, by far,the best in quality of fruits. These,however,are very extracting in their soil requiring cultural and manurial practices and get degenerated unless proper care is taken. The other varieties comparatively can stand some amount of negligence in field treatments. The Bhimkal is in a way very outstanding,being the high yielder and having the biggest size. This fruit commonly used as infant food in Assam.

Propagation of banana is done vegetatively by employing suckers which arise as the base of their plants from the underground rhizomes. Suckers possessing long narrow leaves are removed with a bit of the rhizomes from the mother plant and are planted in the holes prepared in the field. Young plants take from 18 months to 2 years to flower. The hanging terminated bud of the fruit branch is removed.

 

The whole plant from leaf to root is used for different purpose such as the terminating bud (Kaldil) used as vegetable,the leaves and sheath are used as substitute for plate or dishes and from the sheath tumblers (Khol)are made for serving food. The plant is general is used for decorating gates,etc.,in various ceremonies. The Kalakhar is indigenous alkaline preparation and is commonly used in preparation of certain alkalic dishes among the Assamese. The banana plant and corns are sliced down and dried in the sun;when completely dried,they are burnt and the ashe is used as Kalakhar. Kalakhar is used as preparation of Kharanipani,etc. According to the Agricultural Status of Assam,1992-93, in 1992-93, 5,38,442 tonnes of banana was produced in 40,389 hectares of land in Assam.

Citrus fruits : Assam is considered to be the ''Crater Centre'' of citrus flora of India due to the fact that is the home of origin of many Indian forms of citrus. Of these groups, Sontara or Khasi Orange (citrus reticulata) is the most prominent. It is fairly grown in North Cachar hills, Goalpara, Kamrup, Darrang, and Sibsagar. The export market is West Bengal. It grows better at an altitude of about 60 metres. The fruit is also met with a higher elevations upto 152 metres but here there is a marked deterioration in size and quality.

Orange orchards are mostly established on the slopes and are given open cultivation. Its saplings are planted on hill slopes. The oranges are harvested from November to January. Cultural practices are done by cutting down dead and old branches of the tree. The average yield varies from 500 to 1500 fruits per tree.

Among lemons, the Assam lemon known as China Kajhzi, Nemu, Jora tenga or Eureka Genoa, Villa franca and Malta are commonly met with. The variety of

 

lemon called Kajhzi tenga is is grown in the home compounds. This is a small tree which bears fruits throughout the year and yields any thing upto 100 fruits annually.

Pineapple : It is an important fruit crop of North Cachar Hills. The state of Assam offers a very congenial for the cultivation of pineapples. Several indigenous varieties are found scattered all over the State but their fruits are for the most part sour and hence hardly put to any use. The introduced varieties which are grown to commercial scale are; Giant Kew, Queen, Maurities Spanish and Saladhups. The last mentioned variety though bearing a small sized fruit,is reputed for its fine flavour.

 

The pineapple crop in Assam remains in the same field for four to five years. It is grown from its suckers which are planted in hill-slopes on terraces from March to June and also in August and September. The harvest commences after 15thmonths of planting in between July and early October. The average yield is said to be 22 metric tonnes per hectare.

Arecanut : Arecanut (Areca catechu) is almost grown as universally as the banana and with bamboo forms the great trinity of tree among which the houses of the Assamese are usually embedded. The plantation is hoed up and kept clear of weeds and the trees are almost liberally manures with cowdung. The pan vine (betel piper)is frequently trained up their stems and the leaf and nut,which are invariably eaten together,are grown side by side. In 1990-91,50535 tonnes of dry arecanut were produced in an area of 66032 hectares of land in the State.

Coconut : Its cultivation is mostly concentrated in the plains area. It is not grown as garden crop but cultivated in homesteads. It is doing well and there is prospect for more cultivation. In 1990-91,72,833,000 nuts were produced in an area of 10,330 hectares in the State.

Other fruits like jackfruits, mango, papaya, guava, plum,etc., are also grown in small quantities in homesteads in the State. According to the Agricultural Status of Assam,1992-93,in 1992-93,area under papaya cultivation was 5274 hectares and the total yield was 83129 tonnes in the same year in the State. Apple cultivation has also been done in areas having an altitude of 1,219 metres and above. Some varieties of apple grafts with low chilling requirements from Kulu Valley are planted in areas having altitudes of 762 m,914m, 1067m, 1219m, and above.

 

Tea : It is one of the most important crops of the State. It is also the largest foreign exchange earner. In 1991,tea covered an area of 2,33,284 hectares in the State out of the total area of 4,20,500 hectares under tea cultivation in India. During the same year, Assam contributed more than 52.5 per cent of the total production in the country. The indigenous tea of Assam first brought to the notice of the Govt. of Assam in 1826 by Mr. C.A. Bruce. Following statement shows area and production of tea in the State:-

 

 

 

 

 

State showing the Area and Production of Tea in the State.

Year    No.of Tea Garden      Area under tea     Production of tea    Average yield    Average Labour

                                             cultivation in        in thousand kg.      Per hectares      employed in tea

                                                  hectares.                                                  In                    Garden.

          Assam   India       Assam       India         Assam      India       Assam    India       Assam     India

 1          2           3             4              5                 6            7             8           9             10          11

 

1951   785     6,214   1,55,674   3,16,870  1,50,370   2,85,399    966         901        N.A.       N.A

1961   744     9,499   1,62,367   3,31,299   1,82,311  3,54,397  1,123     1,070         N.A.        N.A

1966   751    10,822  1,72,304   3,45,018   1,89,231  3,66,374  1,098     1,089   4,21,861   8,04,135

1970   751    11,603  1,80,065   3,54,133    2,12,027  4,18,517  1,178     1,182   3,94,410   7,59,646

1971   750    12,015  1,82,325   3,56,516    2,23,665  4,35,468  1,227     1,221   3,97,370   7,66,503

1972   751    12,999  1,84,244   3,58,675    2,39,206  4,55,996  1,298     1,271   3,06,316   7,61,919

1973   751    13,117  1,85,113    3,60,108    2,51,825  4,71,952  1,360     1,311   3,98,725   7,66,036

1974   754     13,274  187,408    3,61,663    2,65,281  4,89,474   1,416    1,358   4,01,169  7,71,717

1975   756     13,264  1,88,794   3,63,303    2,63,055  4,87,137   1,393    1,341   4,02,195  7,74,897

1980   777     13,390  2,00,569  3,81,086        N.A.        N.A         1499      1,494   4,48,949  8,46,659

1981   777     13,410  2,03,038  3,83,629    3,05,130   5,60,427   1,503    1,461   4,58,494  8,49,206

1986   844     13,821     N.A           N.A.           N.A.           N.A.         N.A.       N.A.  4,84,349  8,91,954

1987   845     13,839  2,25,783   4,11,335   3,63,739  6,65,251    1,611     1,617   4,90,182  9,06,033

1988   848     13,853  2,27,517   4,14,347   3,69,428  7,00,014    1,624     1,689  5,27,848  9,82,830

1989   848     13,856  2,29,428   4,14,953   3,79,855  6,88,105    1,656     1,658  5,44,291  9,79,204

1990   848     13,860  2,30,363   4,16,269   388,181   7,20,338    1,685     1,731   5,41,661 9,86,781

1991   848     13,873  2,33,284   4,20,500   3,96,604  7,54,192    1,700     1,794   5,54,536 9,96,735

1992      -           -            -                 -           3,87,813  7,03,931         -            -           -              -

 

In respect of Assam another more than 100 (hundred) small tea garden as registered with the Tea Board have started planting the bushes recently. Source- Tea Statistics,1991-92.

Tea is the world's most widely used beverage which enjoys the greatest popularity because it is the cheapest of all common beverages. Methods of tea culture and marketing vary throughout the world. The tea plants being perennial, its culture must inevitably be different from ordinary farm practices where annual crops are raised. The tea plant, bush or tree is an evergreen of the 'Comella' family, which flourished in warm, rainy regions of the tropics and sub tropics. Although tea is a hard plant which grows under diverse conditions, the climate,considered most favourable to tea culture,is characterised by small daily rise in temperature, generous rain through-out the year (at least 1.52 to 2.03 metre annually) and the absence of strong dry winds and freezing temperature. Similarly, soil on which tea grown has a strong influence on the quality of the tea. Clay soils tend to give a strong scent but poorer flavour to tea. Black organic soils in damp areas tend to produce a leaf giving a sweet taste but a poor aroma. Loose sandy loams usually give a favourable balance of taste and aroma. The useful life of tea plant depends upon general care in cultivation, pruning, plucking and control of pests and diseases.

 

Tea plant yield crops for 8 months and in some cases,for the whole year round.

 

In its natural state in the forest,tea grows to a height of from 4.57m to 9.14m or more. The primary object of pruning is to turn it into a low bush instead of a tree. Further,pruning is necessary to encourage the bush to produce leaves rather than wood, and to spread into a ramification of twigs, giving a large plucking surface,and yet not so dense as to obstruct the free passage of light and air to the leaves every-where, which is a condition essential to the healthy life of the tea plant.

 

The need for replanting in a certain area arises when an area of tea has become unproductive for the reasons,viz,(a) extreme age of the tea,(b) death or debility through disease, impoverishment of soil or bad cultural method of a large percentage of the bushes.

 

In order to enrich the tea,soil is made available with nitrogen and also to increase its fertility,shady trees and green crop belonging to the family, 'leguminoseae' are grown with great advantage. Besides, they serve to supply shade to the tea bushes, to reduce soil wash, to suppress weed growth and also to act as wind breakers and protection against hailstorm, etc.

 

The bush is grown with the sole object of producing leaves. The process of building up of new growth is quite interesting and shows that the leaves are the more important part of the plant than any other part of its structure. The new shoot which a bush produces in the spring makes a certain amount of growth and then becomes dormant, the terminal bud at this stage being small and thin which is commonly termed as Bhanjhi.

The plucking of tea leaf for manufacture is usually begun after the bushes are about three years old,though a certain amount of light plucking is also carried on even before they attain this stage. In the first flush of leaf after pruning, the extreme tip of the growing branch consisting of the unopened leaf bud together with 1 or 2 leaves is plucked, and 2 or 3 leaves lower down which are older,are left standing. The flushes continue to come and there may be 10 or 15 flushes in the year.

The number of gardens in quality are recognised and all of these depend upon the type of leaf of which each is largely made up. Plucking is broadly classed as fine,medium and coarse;the plucking of the tip and four leaves is called coarse. When high quality is object,fine plucking is restored to and when quality is the object,medium and course pluckings are adopted.

The manufacture of the green tea leaves into tea of commerce is conducted in large tea factories. The processes are mainly four in number; (i)Withering, (ii) Rolling, (iii) Feramentation, and (iv) Drying. All the 'Cup' qualities of tea, colour body, pungency', strength, and flavour depend a great deal upon the correctness of the fermentation process.

The subsequent processes consist merely in shifting the tea and shorting it into the different grades and packing them in air-tight containers.

The tea bushes are quite often attacked by different kinds of pests and dis-eases. Some of the major pests are looper, caterpiller, red slug caterpiller, bunch caterpiller, red borers, tea mosquitoes, tea leaf hopper, red spiders, crickets, termites, root not nematodes, etc. The disease which occur in tea bushes are primarily fungus although bacteria, virus and non-parasitic disease are charcoal stump rot, brown root rot, violet root rot, branch canker, throny blight, thread blight, blister blight, etc.

The Tocklai Experimental station which is the biggest Tea Research Institute,not only in India but also in Asia,has done a good deal of investigation in different aspects of tea culture and manufacture,the results of which are published in the Tea Encyclopedia,'Two Leaves and a Bud',etc., Besides numerous scientific publications and the different research journals.

Changes in the area under different crops :

from the above discussion it is evident that cultivated area under all the principal crops,except maize and cotton,has increased considerably in recent years. Some years ago cultivation of winter paddy was confined to a very small area but this has now increased considerably. The cultivation of wheat was almost insignificant in this part of the country but this is now gaining popularity. Same is the case with gram. The cultivation of maize and cotton in the State was mainly confined to hill areas and the fall in the crop area is mainly attributed to the transfer of hill areas to the newly created states of Meghalaya and Mizoram. Moreover,attempts are also being made to bring considerable area under the coffee, rubber, black pepper plantations specially in hill areas as a substitute of Jhuming cultivation. The cultivation of fruits like apples,etc., are also being experimented. Various schemes are under way to make the cultivation of these crops popular.

 

Agricultural implements and mechanisation : The plough made of jackfruit tree or some other hard wood is the age old implement still very common in the State. It consists of three parts; the handle and the body which are usually all in one piece, the pole which joins the plough at the junction of the handle and the body, and the yoke which is merely a piece of bamboo fastened by rope at right angles to the pole,with pegs affixed to it to keep it from sliding from the necks of the bullocks. The Phal (spear) affixed to the sharp end of the front portion of the body pierces the ground. This piece of iron is the only portion of the plough which the farmer has to purchase. The rest he makes himself,sometimes in collaboration with his cultivator friends. The tilth attained by wooden plough is generally 0.07 to 0.10 metre. Not more than the area of two-fifths of an acre can be ploughed in one day with a good pair of bullock.

 

The harrow (moi),which is generally used to crush the clods after ploughing the land is about 2.4 metre in length. Clods are broken by a mallet (Doli-mari) which is also made at home. The hoe (kor) occupies a very important place among the indigenous agricultural implements. The hoe is used to trim the embankments (alis) which help to retain the water. It is also used in upturning the soil of such fields where plough cannot go. It is a multipurpose implement used for many agricultural operations, such as forming ridges, bunds, water courses and channels,preparing small seed beds and removing slumps of crops, digging out root crops, etc. Sickles (kaci) with which paddy is reaped, have also to be purchased. In ahu cultivation, a large wooden rake (Bindha)with teeth nearly 0.03 metre in length is dragged over the crop by a bullock when the plants are about 0.15 metre high. The nirani,a kind of trowel with a long handle, is used for weeding ahu rice.

 

The bullock carts are used to carry harvested paddy or pulses from the fields and at time to carry manure to the field,although its chief use is to carry merchandise to and from the market.

 

Except in tea gardens,the use of improved agricultural implements in Assam is rather infrequent. In some areas,tractors have been used to reclaim waste lands. However, this does not find favour with the ordinary cultivators for several reasons such as heavy capital investment,paucity of large blocks of land,etc..

 

Along the improved agricultural implements used in the State following are important ones : (I) iron plough, (ii)improved harrows, (iii)improved seed drills, (iv) improved thrashers, (v)rotary chaff cutters,(vi)sprayers and dusters, (vii)sugarcane crushers worked by power, (viii)oil engines with pumps for irrigation purposes, (ix)electric plumps for irrigation purposes and (x)power tillers.

 

The following table shows number of agricultural machineries and implements in the State as per the Livestock Census of 1988 :

                           Item                           Number

 

                            1.Power Tiller                       720

                            2.Tractor                               738

                            3.Wooden Plough             17,38,872

                            4.Iron Plough                       9345

                            5.Sprayers and dusters          3477

                            6.Pumps for Irrigation            3786

                            7.Disc Harrows                       27688

                            8.Wet land Paddlers             17557

                            9.Earth levellers                  3,22,793

                          10.Seed drillers                        1121

                          11.Maize Sheelers                     25

                          12.Animal Carts                      79,459

                          13.Sugarcane Crushers

                                     (a)Power operated         3309

                                     (b)Animal Operated       2662

                          14.Potato digger                       190

                          15.Thrasher                              117

                          16.Pumpset Electric                 4257

Seed and manures : Cultivators usually preserve a portion of their crop to be used as seeds for the next sowing. Needy cultivators can also purchase at moderate rates improved seeds for paddy,jute,mustard,sugarcane,etc.,produced in seed farms opened in the Community Department. Sap-lings of fruit trees are also made available cheaply from the horticulture nurseries. The Assam Seeds Corporation was set up in 1967 to produce,procure and distribute quality seeds. All seeds farms and nurseries have been handed over to the Corporation by the Agriculture Department. Among the paddy seeds distributed by the Government which are gaining popularity are Monohar sali, Prasadbhog, Badsah bhog, Basmati, Negerihar, Rangadaria,. Among other improved varieties I-R8,Taichungnating-I,Jaya,Padma hankai,Vagannath,Kikoahao (deep water paddy),

Kolangi,etc., are also used.

The cultivators of the State use green manuring in almost all their cultivated crops. It largely consists of dressing fruit trees,etc.,with surface scrapings of grasses and weeds, ploughing of grasses,weeds and stipple of paddy in the fields before the next crop of paddy is grown. However,the quantity and quality of green matter buried into the soil are both poor and negligible.

 

Until recently use of manure as such was almost negligible. There was little operation of the manurial value of farm water including cowdung, a good deal of which was wasted or burnt as fuel. The use of oil cake was almost unknown except by tea gardens and betelvine in Surma Valley. The value of the fertilizer was not appreciated by the farmers and there was little demand for them. However,in recent years,the farmers have become manure conscious like that of others states of the country. Not only the locally available cowdung and green manure being more fully employed but also there is a growing demand for fertilizers in the State.

 

Agricultural diseases and pests and remedies employed : The insects particularly Gandhi (leptorisa acuta) and Saraha (Hispa acuesceus) cause extreme damage to paddy. The traditional method of controlling insects was very simple. Bonfires were lit at night and the insects were either attracted to the fire or driven away by smoke. Sometimes the insects were also collected by smearing a winnowing fan with some glutinous substances and brushing it against the ears of grain, and thereby collect bugs which found adhering to the fan. Use of light traps to protect the crops from adult insects was not uncommon. Occasionally the barks of some trees and herbs were scattered in the field. The pungent smell of these barks repelled insects. The outer skins of various fruits such as citrus grandis were scattered over the pest infested areas are allowed to rot. The offensive smell emitted kept away insects. Sometimes dry shoots of bamboo trees and dry twigs of jungle plants were kept standing on the fields at short distances so that carnivorous birds may perch on these and eat the destructive insects. Sometimes ashes were scattered over plants to prevent insects from harming winter crops. Crop failure was also attributed sometimes to the ominous glances of some persons. Old images, mostly made of straw decorated with torn clothes and painted with lime, were kept in the fields as antidote to the ominous looks. Some of these traditional method are still in vogue.

 

Storage diseases and insect pest of paddy potatoes and pulses are equally menacing and rough estimates show that they destroy 10 to 25 per cent of those products in storage. The disease and insect pests which cause damage during storage are either carried from the fields with the harvest product of remain in the crevices in the godowns and storage houses. This is prevented by better method of storage, disinfecting the storage houses and godowns, and treating the grains and seeds to be stored with chemicals, like Carbon Tetrachloride, Ethylene Dichloride, Hydrocyanic acid gas,etc.

 

Caterpillars are serious pests of paddy noticed in the State. Stem borer is also equally harmful to the crop.

Important crop pests and diseases of Assam.

 

Crops : Pests and Diseases.

Rice :Brown Spot, Blast, Foot Rot and Elongation,Stem Rot, Bunt and False Smut, Urfa, Case Worm and Gally Fly, Grasshoppers and Jassids, Leaf Roller, Army Worms, Mealy Bug, Swarming Caterpillar, Rice-Bug, Rice-Hispa and Stem Borer.

Sugarcane : Termites and Ro Ants, Stem Borer, Early Shoot Borer and Top Shoot Borer, Mealy Bug and White Fly Leaf Hopper, White Borer, Red-Rot, Leaf Spot, Mosaic, Smut and Top-Rot, and Wilt and Collar Rot.

Cotton : Anthracnose, Wilt, Leaf Hopper, Red Bug and Leaf Roller, and Spotted Roll Worm.

Chillies : Damping Off, Papper Fruit Rot, Powdery Mildew, Leaf Caterpillar, Thrips and Stem Borer.

Ginger : Fly Maggots, Shoot Borer, and Soft Rot/Rhizome-Rot.

Pepper : Wilt, Scales, Pollu Beetle, Shoot-Borer and Thrips.

Turmeric : Leaf Spot and Shoot Borer.

Cardomom : Damping off, Rhizome-Rot, Hairy Caterpillar, Rhizome Weevil, Shoot Borer and Thrips.

Coconut : Leaf Spot, Bud Rot, Nut-Fall (Mahali), Rhinoceros Beetle, Red Palm Weevil, and Black-headed,Caterpillar.

Arecanut :Bud Rot, Fruit-Rot, Kaleroga or Mahali, Beetles, Anaberoga, Stem Bleeding, Collar-Rot, Sheding of female flowers and tender nuts, Leaf-Rot, Mites, Scales and Bugs.

Brinjal : Wilt,Root-Rot,Bud Borer,Beetles and Jassids.

Bhendi :Mosaic, Leaf roller, Fruit Borer and Shoot Borer, Jassis and Aphids, etc.

Curcurbits : Powdery Mildew, Root-Rot and Fruit-Rot, Mosaic, Beetles, Leaf Caterpillar, Semi-Looper and Fruit Fly.

Tomato : Damping off, Wilt, Late Blight, Beetles, and Caterpillar.

Sweet potato : Weevil.

Banana : Leaf Spot,Fruit Rot,Black Tip and Black Finger Tip,Wilt (Panama).Bunchy Top,Tip Rot,Leaf and Fruit Beedle and Borer.

 

Mango: Die Back, Powdery Mildew, Red Rot (Anthracnose) Hoppers, and Leaf and Shoot Hair-eating Caterpillar.

Cashewnut : Gummosis, Die Back, Shoot Borer, and Thrips.

Maize : Leaf Spot, Borer, Aphis and Blight.

Potato : Early and Late Blight, Brown-Rot, Scab, Leaf Roll, Mosaic, Tuber Moth, Greasy Surface, Caterpillar and Cut Worm.

Tobacco : Wilt, Caterpillar and Thrips.

Apple, Pear,

Peach and

Plum : Canker, Leaf Spot, Soft-Rot, Stem Brown, Die Back, Bitter Rot, Powdery Mildew, Peach-Curl, Wooly Aphis, San-Joice Scale, Shoot Borer, and Fruit Borer.

Cabbage,

Cauliflower,

Knot-Khol,

Turnips,etc : Black-Rot, Damping off, Club Root, Painted bug, Cricket, Wite Rust, Leaf Spot, Brown Rot Aphids, Caterpillar, Thrips, Jassids, Semi-Looper and Butter-fly.

Citrus : Canker, Scab, Winter-Tip, Gummosis, Sooty Mould, Foam, Seeding Wilt, Die-Back, Pink Disease, Aphids, Leaf-Miner, Lemon Caterpillar, Green Bug, Borer, Mealy Bug, Mites, and Scales (Insect).

Groundnut : Tikka Disease, Collar-Rot, and Caterpillar, Fruit-Fly, and Stem Borer.

Gauva : Red Rust, Leaf-Blight, Anthracnose, Leaf Beetle, Fruit Fly and Stem Borer.

Jute : Stem-Rot, Root-Rot, and Seeding Blight, Black Band, Hairy Caterpillar, Mites, Cricket, and Semi Looper.

Litchi : Leaf Curl.

Mustard : Downy Mildew,Leaf-Spot,White-Rust,Aphis,Caterpillar and Saw-fly.

Onion : Thrips.

Pulses

Matimah

& Mugmah :Mosaic, Anthracnose and Leaf-Spot.

Beans : Wilt.

Pineaple : Heart-Rot or Stem Rot,Leaf-Spot,Base Rot,and Fruit Rot.

 

 

Papaya : Stem-Rot, Leaf-Rot, and Root-Rot, Authracnose and Mosaic.

Kachu :Colocassia Blight.

Pan Leaf : Fruit-Rot, Leaf-Rot, Rhizoctonia and Root-Rot.

Sesame : Leaf Spot.

Pea : Powdery Mildew and Rust.

Grape-Vine : Powdery Mildew.

(Source :-Department of Agriculture,Assam).

Chemical pesticides and fungicides are being widely sprayed and dusted by the Crop Protection Force of the State Agriculture Department during major croppings. The individual farmers are now becoming accustomed to the use of these pesticides.

Activities of Agricultural Department and other agencies, agricultural schools and colleges, model farms and shows :

In the First Five Year Plan emphasis was laid on increasing of food production. The Second Five Year Plan aimed at attacking a balanced development of food and cash crops. Priority was given to the multiplication and distribution of improved seeds,distribution of fertilizers,creation of irrigation facilities,etc. During the Third Five Year Plan,diversified attempts to put the Agriculture of the State on a batter scientific plan were made. The object of the Fourth Five Year Plan was to increase the production of food-grains at an average annual rate of five per cent,to assess the decline in production of jute by increasing the average yield rather than area,and to increase the production of wheat,oilseed,pulse,fruit and other plantation crops. During the next plan,more attention was paid to the development aspects of the agriculture in the State. Strategies followed were :(1)population of high yielding variety of crops,(2)stress on improved input structure to raise productivity,(3)en-couragement of multiple cropping pattern,(4)change of cropping pattern in flood prone areas and (5)provision for greater irrigation facilities.

Department of Agriculture : The development of agriculture is the function of the Department of Agriculture. There is a separate directorate for it and Director of Agriculture is the head of the directorate at the State level. At the district level there is a District Agricultural Officer,assisted by many other offers,they look after the activities of the field staff of the district level. At Community Development Blocks,there is one Extension Officer,Agriculture,assisted by number of Gram Sevaks at the village level. A brief analysis will reveal the measure of success achieved by the Agriculture Department in bringing out an era of prosperity and self sufficiency.

Soil improvement works : Soil testing service have been made available to the farmers for quick soil tests in order to recommend fertilizers on crop-wise basis. There are three soil testing laboratories in Assam,one each at Silchar, Jorhat and

Guwahati. The annual capacity of testing is 30,000 samples in each laboratory.

Distribution of improved agricultural implements. The Agricultural Engineering Wing of the Department of Agriculture, Assam, has provided a fleet of bulldozers and tractors with necessary implements in sub-divisional headquarters in sub-divisional headquarters. A cultivator can borrow tractors with required charge. In addition to this,the State Argo-Industries Development Corporation has also provided a number of tractors and power tillers on easy hire purchase terms. In the tea gardens,there are large number of tractors which are also used for agricultural purposes. The following statements shows the tractors,bulldozers,maintained by the Agricultural Engineering Wing of the department of Agriculture.

         SI                         Officer                                 H.Q.                  Bulldozer                   Tractor

         (1)                           (2)                                      (3)                        (4)                             (5)

          1.          Asst. Executive Engineer,Agri.         Kokrajhar                  1                               9

          2.                            ,,                                    Gosaigaon                1                               5

          3.                             ,,                                    Gauripur                   1                              4

          4.                             ,,                                    Goalpara                  1                               8

          5.                             ,,                                    Guwahati                  1                               8

          6.                             ,,                                      Rangia                     -                               9

          7.                             ,,                                       Nalbari                   2                             10

          8.                             ,,                                      Pathsala                  1                             10

          9.                             ,,                                     Mangaldoi                1                             12

         10.                             ,,                                       Tezpur                    1                              3

         11.                             ,,                                       Gohpur                    -                              3

         12.                             ,,                                 North Lakhimpur            -                              7

         13.                             ,,                                      Dhemaji                   -                              9

         14.                              ,,                                     Sibsagar                   1                           10

         15.                              ,,                                    Dibrugarh                   1                          10

         16.                              ,,                                     Tinsukia                     -                            4

          17.                              ,,                                      Jorhat                      1                            6

          18.                              ,,                                       Majuli                     -                             2

          19.                              ,,                                       Roha                       1                            7

          20.                              ,,                                        Hojai                      -                             4

          21.                              ,,                                      Kaliabar                   -                             2

          22.                             ,,                                        Silchar                   -                             3

          23.                              ,,                                      Karimganj                -                             4

          24.                              ,,                                      Hailakandi                -                             4

          25.                              ,,                                        Diphu                      3                            3

          26.                              ,,                                        Hamren                   1                            3

          27.                              ,,                                         Haflong                   -                            3

                                                                                           Total                    18                        162

Source : Directorate of Agriculture,Assam.

In order to encourage the cultivators to use and adopt scientific and improved agricultural implements in their cropping practices,the Agriculture Engineering Wing of the Agriculture Department of Assam has taken up the following schemes.

(1)Agricultural Implements Scheme (State sector): The scheme envistages popularisation of agricultural machinery and implements,plant protection equipment,etc.,through subsidised sale to farmers. The expenditure on wheat thrashing machineries are also borne from this scheme. During the year 1978-79, specific allotment of fund to Guwahati, Jorhat and Silchar were provided to gear up manufacturing work of implements as per target of production laid down under scheme.

(2)Central Sector Scheme for introduction and popularisation of improved implements under minikit programme of rice :- This scheme was introduced in the State from the year 1976-77 as a component activity of national campaign for increasing rice production in the country. The object of the scheme is to introduce improved agricultural implements for proper seed-bed inter-cultural weeding practice.

 

During the year 1977-78 ,sum of Rs. 1,85,500.00 was granted by the Govt. of India for sale of 175 sets of these implements at 75 per cent subsidy. The target has been duly achieved. During the year 1978-79,Govt,of India granted 26 nos. of demonstration sets of improved implements,12 nos. of low lift pumps and 1 nos. of Hydraulic ram for demonstration in Hills under the scheme for demonstration purposes in the State.5

 

 

Distribution of Fertilizers : Till two decades back,the use of fertilizer was confined to the tea gardens only and there was very limited use of it for agricultural purpose. This may be ascribed partly to the ignorance,prejudice and partly to the limited purchasing power to the cultivators. Further, inadequate irrigation facilities and uncertainly of rain restricted the use of fertilizers. The following statement gives the fertilizers consumption figure (in Metric Tonnes) in the State from 1966-67 to 1993-94.

Trend of Fertilizer consumption in Assam (In terms of M.T.)

 

        Year             Nitrogen             Phosphorous                 Potash                TOTAL kg./hectare

 

     1966-67            1612                     2500                             991                     5103            1.5

     1967-68            2520                     1440                            2268                    6268            1.9

     1968-69            4000                     2500                            2500                    9000             2.7

     1969-70            3500                     1900                            1200                    6600             2.0

     1970-71            5000                     2100                            1550                    8650              2.6

     1971-72            4900                     2050                            1200                    8150              2.4

     1972-73            6650                     1700                            1900                   10250             3.7

     1973-74            5500                       500                             2000                    8000             2.0

     1974-75            4100                     1200                             1400                    6700             2.3

     1975-76            3356                     1294                               804                    5454             1.9

     1976-77            2571                       286                               272                    3429             1.2

     1977-78           4682                        259                               781                     5722            1.8

     1978-79           6757                        372                               755                     7884             2.4

     1979-80           5560                        731                               470                     6761             2.1

     1980-81           6996                       1430                            1499                      9925            2.8

     1981-82           8023                       1196                            1586                     10805           3.3

     1982-83           8456                       1918                            1503                     12877           4.0

     1983-84          10438                      2660                            4206                     17304           5.3

     1984-85            7538                      2837                            3423                      13798          4.2

     1985-86            9352                      3634                            3754                      16740          4.7

     1986-87            8724                       3161                           4914                      16799          4.9

     1987-88           12325                       5815                          5636                       23776         6.8

     1988-89           13697                       6205                          5578                       25480         7.4

     1989-90           12494                       5439                          4538                       22471         6.5

     1990-91           20563                       8446                          8663                       37672       11.4

     1991-92           19295                       7843                          8383                       35521       10.5

     1992-93           16104                       5280                          5126                       26510         8.5

     1993-94            29871                      5257                          8044                       43172        12.0

Source :- Directorate of Agriculture,Assam.

The amount of fertilizers used is stated to have gone up during the last few years. However,the high cost of fertilizers,non-availability of credit,lack of storage facilities in remote villages and want of distributors in the interior areas are some of the factors of which the chemical fertilizers have not been widely used. But use of green and organic manuring has increased in the State.

Plant Protection measures : The plant protection measure is an important task to save the existing crops. It is carried out throughout the State under different manner of operation to combat the attacks of insects, pests and diseases. Prophylactic measures have been taken up to save crop from the probable attack of diseases, in-sects and pests. The farmers are becoming conscious of these measures and demand for plant protection chemical and equipments, etc., is increasing gradually. Sprayers, dusters, pesticides, weedicides and fungicides are made available to farmers by the Department of Agriculture at the subsidised rate through the agency of the Assam Agro-Industries Development Corporation Ltd.

Distribution of improved Seeds : The cultivators preserve a portion of their previous year's crop for seed. The agriculture Department also improved seed of paddy,jute,mustard,pulse,maize,sugar-cane,etc.,to the cultivators. Seedling of fruit bearing trees are also supplied to the cultivators from the horticulture nurseries. For the purpose of the distribution of improved varieties of seeds the Agriculture Department has established a number of farm throughout the State. But these farms and nurseries have now been transferred to the Assam Seeds Corporation established in 1967. There are 86 seed farms and 19 horticulture nurseries in the State. The Agriculture Department purchase the seed from the Assam Seeds Corporation and supplies to the farmers at 50% subsidised rates. The following statement shows the area covered by the high yielding variety under paddy during the last five years (in hectares)

               Year                   Autumn                    Winter               Summer                 Total

                                            Paddy                       Paddy                  Paddy

            

              1988-89                305000                       534000                  49109                    888109

              1989-90                327000                       565000                   61645                    953645

               1990-91               359116                        736688                   79045                  1174849

               1991-92               312439                        7625539                 75022                 11,50000

                1992-93              314029                           766488                75486                  1156003

Source :-Director of Agriculture,Assam.

 

Agriculture Research Station : There are 6 research stations or centres as well as 10 field trial stations in the State to carry out research on the varieties of crops. A great majority of these stations are under the control of the Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat. Following is the list of the Agricultural Research Stations in the State.

 

Agricultural Reserch Stations in Assam.

 

         Sl.No.         Name of the ResearchStation     Location            District             Control

            1.                 Rice Research Station               Titabor              Jorhat      Assam Agri.University

            2.                 Pulse Research Station           Shillongoni         Nagaon                 do

            3.                 Rice Research Station             Gossaigaon         Kokrajhar               do

            4.                 Rice Experimental Station        Akbarpur            Karimganj             do

            5.                 Cotton Research Station              Diphu           Karbi Anglong         do                                     (Hill crops)

            6.                 Regional Horticultural                Kahikuchi             Kamrup              do                                 Research Station

 

Field Trial Station in Assam (Agriculture Department)

 

                                               Place                                          District

                                            1.Balagaon                                   Kokrajhar

                                            2.Gerua                                          Kamrup

                                            3.Shillongoni                                 Nagaon

                                            4.Panbari                                       Golaghat

                                            5.Balijana                                      Goalpara

                                            6.Sukli boria                              North Lakhimpur

                                            7.Mahakal                                        Cachar

                                            8.Patbouchi                                     Barpeta

                                            9.Gelapukhuri                                  Tinsukia

                                          10.Chariduar                                      Sonitpur

Source : Directorate of Agriculture,Assam.

 

 

The Assam Agro-Industries Development Corporation :

 

The corporation was established on 27th January,1967,with a paid up share capital of Rs. 2.5 Crores contributed by the Govt. of India and Govt. of Assam on 50:50 basis. Its main objects are to assist progressive farmers to own the means of modernising their cultivation and undertake and assist in efficient distribution of all agricultural inputs like farm machinery and implements,pesticides,plant protection equipments,fertilizers and agro-chemicals, etc. It also aims to set up workshop for manufacturing farm machinery and equipments and also to establish and run service-shops and repair-shops to assist the farmers by rendering services in respect of repair and servicing of agricultural machinery and equipments at reasonable rates and also to provide farm machinery on rent to those farmers who cannot afford to purchase the same. It also aims to promote,establish,develop and run ago-industries, projects, enterprises and programmes which will help the growth, improvement, and modernisation of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, pisciculture, sericulture, apiculture, poultry farming and animal husbandry.

 

With these ends in view,the Corporation has set up 10 customs services in the

State at places like Bilasipara, Bongaigaon, Goalpara Howli, Biswanath Chariali, Dhekiajuli, Dhemaji, Laharighat and Teok at a cost of Rs. 2.5 lakh for each customs service centre. It has also set up central workshop at Khanapara, Guwahati, where repairing of agricultural machineries and training to technical personals are taken up. The Corporation is maintaining a group of machineries for rendering regular and timely after sale service to the customers. It is also running a small fruit processing factory at Silchar which was handed over to it by the Govt. of Assam in 1968. A microbiological laboratory which is the first of its kind in the N.E. Region was set up by the Corporation for production of bacterial fertilizer (Rhizobium culter) in the year 1981 at Guwahati. This laboratory is now producing the entire requirement of the North Eastern (N.E) Region for bacterial fertilizer. Moreover,the laboratory also produces fungeal culture which the Corporation is supplying to Uttar Pradesh and Orissa besides meeting the requirement of the State.

 

Starting with modest sales of Rs. 28.69 lakh only in the first year of its inception (1967-68),the Corporation has now reached a record sales turnover of Rs. 2,224.05 lakh during the year 1991-92 with an anticipated net profit of Rs.3.69 lakh during the year. During its existence of 25 years,the Corporation supplied inputs with Rs. 16,085.40 lakh.

 

Assam Seed Corporation;Ltd (ASC Ltd):

The Assam Seed Corporation Ltd.(a Govt. of Assam,Undertaking) was established during the year 1967,under the provisions of Companiesa Act 1956.

 

Since the establishment of ASC Ltd. in the year 1967, this organisation is carrying out its business in production of quality seeds, processing, marketing, transportation and distribution of various seeds, plants, grafts, etc. and supplied to the farms through the Deptt. of Agriculture for field implementation.

 

ASC Ltd is carrying out its business in the following activities :

(1)Production of certified seeds of different varieties in its own seed farms.

(2)Production of paddy seeds through regd. growers scheme and distribution of the same.

(3)Production of foundation seeds and distribution of the same to ASC's own farms and to the regd. growers.

(4)Procurement of the following certified seeds from outside the State and distribution of the same.

(a)Wheat, (b)Jute, (c)Pea, (d)Lentil, (e)Black Gram, (f)Green Gram, (g)Summer Moong, (h)Maize,(i)Vegetable Seeds, (j)Rajmah, (k)Potato,etc.

(5)Nursery products,plants,grafts,some of which are produced from outside the State also.

 

ASC Ltd. has twelve number of seed farms and four number of nurseries engaged in production of seeds, plants, grafts, etc. Out of these 12 farms, one large sized foundation seed farm at Lalpool (240 hectares)in Darrang District is utilised for production of foundation seeds only. Rest of the farms cover 336 hectares out of which 230 hectares are utilised for production of certified seeds. Foundation seeds of paddy,mustard,pulse and jute are produced at Foundation seed farm Production of foundation seeds of paddy and jute is also taken up at 4 numbers of Field Trial Station (FTS)of Agriculture Deptt. and also at large sized mechanized farm at Khernoi under Karbi Anglong District. Foundation seeds that are produced are sufficient to meet the present requirement of the State. During the year 1988-89,1990-91,the following quantities of foundation seeds were produced by ASC. The breeder seeds were obtained from the Assam Agricultural University,as suggest by Govt. of India.

 

1988-89 :             1.Paddy                    (a)Short duration var                            469.90 qtls.

                                                              (b)Long duration var                            790.70 qtls.

                                                                                                                        1260.60 qtls.

                             2.Mustard                   (a)M-27                                               176.00 qtls.

 

1989-90 :               1.Paddy                    (a)Short duration var                            340.00 qtls.

                                                                (b)Long Duration var                           1163.00 qtls.

                                                                                                                         15003.19 qtls.

                              2. Mustard                  (a) M-27                                                139.89 qtls.

                              3.Jute                             JRO-524

                                                                    JRO-632                                                8.15 qtls.

1990-91 :               1.Paddy                     (a)Short duration var                              452.40 qtls.

                                                                (b)Long duration var                             1498.20 qtls.

                                                                                                                             1950.60 qtls.

                               2. Mustard                 (a)M-27                                                  165.00 qtls.

                               3.Jute                       (a)JRO-632

                                                                (b)JRO- 524                                              73.50 qtls.

Source :-Assam Seed Corporation,Ltd.

Variety wise production programme of paddy,mustard and jute is taken up in consultation with Agriculture Deptts. as per their seed plan,based on local demand and adaptability.

It is the State Govt. policy that the required quantity of certified HYV paddy and mustard seeds must be produced and procured within the State. Accordingly,

ASC is making production,procurement programme and produced the required quantity of paddy,mustard seeds under the seeds certification programme since 1983-84. Achievements of certified seeds production for the years 1988-89,1989-90 and 1990-92 are given below :

1988-89 :                      1.Paddy :-                      ASC farm                            5954 qtls.

                                                                         Regd,growers                       36918qtls.

                                                                                                                     42872qtls.

                                     2.Mustard :                     ASC farm                               154qtls.

                                                                                R.G.                               3809 qtls.

                                                                                                                      3963 qtls.

1989-90:                        1.Paddy:                        ASC farm                           4073 qtls.

                                                                                R.G.                                2601 qtls.

                                                                                                                     30274 qtls.

                                       2.Mustard:                      ASC farm                          99.57 qtls.

                                                                                   R.G.                         1889.65 qtls.

                                                                                                                   3988.22 qtls.

1990-91 :                        1.Paddy :                        ASC farm                       5014.47 qtls.

                                                                                  R.G.                         44812.94 qtls.

                                                                                                                  49827.41 qtls.

                                       2. Mustard:                         M-27                                5288 qtls.

                                       3. Jute:                                                                    130.75 qtls.

 

 

ACHIEVEMENT DURING 7th FIVE YEAR PLAN

                                 CERTIFIED SEEDS :                           FOUNDATION SEEDS :

    1.Paddy -                   2,75,771 qtls.                                         6,305 qtls.

    2.Mustard -                    22,500 qtls.                                           628 qtls.

    3. Jute -                                89 qtls.                                            37 qtls.

 

          PRODUCTION PROGRAMME OF FOUNDATION SEEDS DURING 8th PLAN PERIOD          (Qty.in qtls.)

CROPS:                   1990-91             1991-92               1992-93              1993-94             1994-95

1)Paddy                      1060                  1120                    1200                    1250                 1300

2)Jute                            35                     38                        40                        40                     40

3)Rape Mustard              -                      197                      207                      215                   220

4)Black Gram                 14                     16                        18                        20                     22

5)Green Gram                10                     16                        20                        26                     28

6)Arahar                         1-3                    1-5                      1-5                        1-5                     2

7)Pea                             70                      80                        90                      100                   120

8)Soyabean                   44                      50                         60                        64                    70

 

PRODUCTION PROGRAMME OF CERTIFIED SEEDS DURING 8th PLAN PERIOD

(qty.in qtls.)

CROPS:              1990-91                  1991-92                1992-93              1993-94              1994-95

1)Paddy               60,000                    64,000                   67,000                71,000                 75,000

2)Jute                     1,000                     1,800                      1,900                    200                    2,000

3)Rape Mustard      7,200                     7,500                      7,900                 8,300                   8,600

4)Black Gram             246                        280                         320                    360                      400

5)Green Gram            160                        200                         200                    400                      500

6)Arahar                       40                          63                           75                      75                        75

7)Pea                          900                     1,050                       1,200                1,350                   1,500

8)Soyabean                 375                        525                           600                  675                     750

Financial position

(A)The present financial position of ASC Ltd. is not at all satisfactory. Due to various reasons ASC has suffered huge financial losses. The financial result of the last few years is as follows :-

 

      YEAR                   TURN-OVER                       PROFIT-LOSS                    ACCUMULATED LOSS

     1985-86                Rs.491.00lakh                  (-)Rs. 45.00 lakh                          Rs.496.00 lakh

     1986-87                Rs.1128.00 ,,                    (-)Rs.57.00      ,,                          Rs.553.00    ,,

     1987-88                Rs.845.00   ,,                    (-)Rs.114.00    ,,                          Rs.667.00    ,,

     1988-89                Rs.1011.00 ,,                    (-)Rs.137.00    ,,                          Rs.804.00    ,,

     1989-90                Rs.774.41   ,,                    (-)Rs.162.03    ,,                          Rs.960.15    ,,

     1990-91                Rs.742.31   ,,                    (-)Rs.83.03      ,,                          Rs.1043.98  ,,

(B)The authorized share capital of the Corpn.is Rs.200.00 lakh.

(C)The subscribed and paid-up capital of the Corpn.is Rs.145.80 lakh.

 

Source : Assam Seed Corporation Ltd.

 

Pilot Project for the development of the Small Farmers,Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labourers :-

It envisages to pay special attention to the problems of the under privileged farmers and agricultural labourers who have not been able to take advantage of the green revolution due to some handicaps and limitations. Under the project the area is identified where there are concentrations of such categories of families and to tackle their problems in a concerted way by evolving proper strategies for their all round development so that these area may serve as pace-setters of development for the rest of the State.

There are such Projects in the State in the selected undeveloped areas in the undivided districts of Goalpara, Kamrup, Nagaon and Karbi Anglong. There is one agency,called the ''Small Marginal and Agricultural Labours Agency'' in each district and the respective Deputy Commissioner of the district is the Chairman of the Agency. However,exception is made in case of Karbi Anglong where the Principal Secretary. District Council,is made the Chairman of the Agency. Similarly,there is Agency at the State level under the Chairmanship of Agricultural Production Commissioner.

The basic strategy in respect to the marginal and small farmers is to augment the individual income by multiple cropping to the extent possible and also to supplement the income by specialised farming and livestock projects. Besides institutional credit and services, there will be component of subsidy in this programme, and at-tempt is to be made to provide off-season employment to agricultural labours through rural work programmes.

Credit to the farmers is to be provided through Co-operative and Commercial banks and the programme are to be operated through the existing development agencies. But all the financial assistance of the project is to come directly to the Agency from the Govt. of India as grant to be utilized as subsidies and in maintenance of the Agency staff.

The main programme of the project comprises irrigation,custom service, storage, supply of inputs, live-stock projects, credit institution, risk subsidy, marketing, consolidation of holdings, assistance to rural artisans, rural workers, etc.

 

Soil Conservation Department : The problem of soil erosion is very acute in the State especially in the hills areas and areas adjoining Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. The unperceptibly susceptible to soil erosion,because of the peculiarities of the soil and some biotic factors. The soils here consist of recently transported materials mostly coarse sand with pebble boulders. It is very shallow and very essily erodable. The extension practice of Jhum or shifting cultivation in the hill areas also helps in causing erosion problem in serious nature in Assam.

 

The estimated affected area by soil erosion in Assam by various land utilization classes are as under :

                                                                                     (in million hectare)

                           Cultivable Land                       ..                    0.770

                             Forest Land                            ..                   0.883

   Permanent Pastures & Grazing Ground            ..                   0.074

                           Barren Land                             ..                   0.308

                   Non Agricultural Land                      ..                   0.182

                               Total                                     ..                    2.217

 

The estimated affected area by soil erosion under special problem in Assam are as follows :

                                                                                          (in million hectare)

                                Gully and Ravine             ..                        0.193

                               Shifting Cultivation           ..                       0.139

                              By Surface Flooding           ..                      0.450

                                      Total                           ..                       0.782

Source : Soil Conservation Department,Assam.

 

From the above figure the total problem area in Assam can be estimated at 2.999 million hectares,out of which 0.191 million hectares (m.ha.)are treated till 1987-88.

To check all these types of erosion problems, the Soil Conservation Department has taken a number of schemes, viz., (I) Watershed Management, (ii) Protection of River Lands,(iii) Protective Afforestation, (iv) Land Development, (v) Gully control works, (vi) Plantation of Cash Crop through Assam plantation Crops Development Corporation, a sister concerned organisation of the Soil Conservation Department, to bring the area in plains district of State under control.

 

Besides the soil conservation measure mentioned above, some other measures such as Land Development by Reclamation and Terracing, Water Distribution,Stream Bank Erosion Control,Bamboo Plantation Regeneration have been undertaken in the hill areas of the State in order to control shifting cultivation by motivating the local people for permanent and settled agriculture and using the land to its potential.

 

Soil conservation measures under centrally sponsored scheme in the catchment of the River Valley Project start functioning in Assam since 1975-76 under the name and caption-the ''Pagladia River Valley Project''. The main objectives of the scheme are to treat the cathment areas for reducing silt production rate and thereby helps to improve the productivity of catchments by checking land erosion.

 

The other centrally sponsored scheme,National Watershed Development Programme of Rainfed Agriculture is implemented in Assam in the year 1991. The objectives of the schemes are :

(i)to conserve and up-grade both crop lands and culturable waste-lands on watershed basis.

(ii)to stabalise and increase crop yield from rainfed farming.

(iii)to make arrangement the fruit,fooder and fuel resources through appropriate alternate land use systems.

(iv)to develop and disseminates technologies for proper soil and moisture conservation.

 

This scheme is 100% assistance to the State Governments. In Assam,this programme is handled by both the Agriculture and Soil Conservation Departments.

The Soil Conservation Department has identified as many as 48 projects. Preliminary works including purchase of survey materials and survey works are done in the entire 48 projects.

The Hir-Hir Barpajan Watershed Management Plan for rehabilitation of Jhumiyas in Karbi Anglong district sponsored by the North Eastern Council is functioning since 1986-87. During the Seventh Plan Period, an expenditure of Rs.8.16 lakhs was incurred and the target achieved against it are 36.0 hectares of land devel-opment and 190.0 hectares of water distribution work.

The physical achievements in terms of hectares by various Soil Conservation measures,since inception of the department are shown below :

                        Period                                                           Achievements

3rd.plan period (1962-69) Agricultural Land -8943 hectare

(including hill areas) Non-Agril.Land -8791 ,,

4th Plan Period Agril.Land -10952 ,,

(including hill areas) Agril.Land -4322 ,,

5th Plan Period Agril.Land -14570 ,,

Non-Agril,Land -4128 ,,

6th Plan Period Agril.Land -22692 ,,

Non-Agril.Land -4257 ,,

Other Riverine

Land Protection -20078M3

Cash Crop Deve-

lopment -457 hectare

7th Plan Period Agricultural Land -24655 ,,

Non-Agril.Land -4144 ,,

Other Riverrine Land

Protection -21794M3

Cash Crop Deve-

lopment -488 hectare

Centrally Sponsered

Scheme since 1975-76 Agricultural Land -2438 ,,

Non-Agril.Land -736 ,,

Source : Soil Conservation Department,Assam.

 

The two new schemes namely the Barmulla Watershed Management Project and the Aie Watershed Project were proposed with a physical target at 200 hectares and total cost of Rs. 50 lakh in each project during the 8th Plan period.

Agricultural Farming Corporation :During 1973-74. State Government introduced a novel scheme for setting up Agricultural Farming Corporation in each sub-division of the State. The main objective of the scheme is to ensure management of land and its proper use by tillers of the soil by settling the actual landless agricul-tural farmers in Government and surplus land that may be available,as a result of enforcement of Land Ceiling Act. Eleven Farming Corporations have been set up in the State since 1974. The following are the Agricultural Farming Co-operatives of the State :-

 

          Name                     Sub-division                     Area in(hectares)                       Registered

1.     Panbari                      Golaghat                                   293.0                                       ,,

2.Puberum                         Dibrugarh                                   277.0                                      ,,

3.Bhardhara                       Sibsagar                                     342.5                                      ,,

4.Champabati                    Dhubri                                        156.0                                      ,,

5.Purbojyoti                       Sonitpur                                      666.0                                     ,,

6.Morigaon                        Morigaon                                     255.0                                     ,,

7.Jamuna Modanga           Nagaon                                       333.0                                     ,,

8.Sidhabari                        Goalpara                                   3354.7                                     ,,         Bakaitari

9.Baginadi                    North Lakhimpur                               201.0                                     ,,

10.Sonitpur                        Sonitpur                                      200.0                               unregistered

11.Silpota                           Kokrajhar                                     226.0                                     ,,

Source :Directorate of Agriculture,Assam.

 

Agricultural Marketing Scheme : The Agricultural Marketing Scheme has been implemented in Assam since the year,1955-57. In the year 1974,schemes for Development of Regulated Market,Development of Market Intelligence, Development of Marketing of fruits and vegetables,Development of jute grading and baling and Quality control and Agmark grading.

 

The Development of Marketing Intelligence is meant for collection and dissemanting of market prices,market arrivals and dispatches for formulation of market policy for the Government and Public besides undertaking market and commodities surveys. The object of the Development of Marketing of fruits and vegetable is to offer assistance by way of subsidies to the growers' associations co-operatives to promote sale of perishable agricultural produce for the benefit of growers as well as consumers. The development of jute grading and baling is meant for offering facilities to the jute grading to enable them to get a higher price by setting grade jute and to impart jute grading training to the unemployed youth of jute growing families for their self employment in the jute trade. The Quality Control and Agmark Grading Scheme offers laboratory facility for analysis and grading of essential commodities of daily needs and consumption like mustard oil,spices,honey,atta,etc., for the benefit of consumers a well as producers. The main aim of the development of regulated market id to regulate buying and selling if agricultural produce by establishing regulated markets with a view to eliminate the malpractice prevalent in the trade. The scheme is implemented through the Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board and Market Committees constituted by the Government. Markets and commodities brought under regulation are shown below :-

Name of Markets Name of commodities

 

                1.Gauripur                    1.Jute                          8.Arahar                15.Chillies

                2.Howly                         2.Mesta                       9.Mung                 16.Betelnuts

                3.Kharuapatia               3.Sunhemp                10.Coconut            17.Betel-leaves

                4.Dhing                         4.Paddy                      11.Ginger

                                                      5.Rice                         12.Dhania

                                                      6.Wheat                      13.Garlic

                                                      7.Matikalai                  14.Termeric

 

Assam Agricultural University : the establishment of the Assam Agricultural University at Jorhat ushered a new era in the field of agricultural education in the State. The University is comprised of two wings,viz. Agriculture service and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary service located at Jorhat and Guwahati respectively. Under it there is a college of Agricultural service at Jorhat where education is imparted in pre-professional course for one year,three year Degree course and Post Graduate Course of two years in Agronomy Agriculture, Chemistry Plant Pathology and Entomology. The college of Veterinary Service Khanapara, Guwahati imparts theoretical and practical education leading to the degree of five years. Post Graduate classes leading to the Degree of M.V.Sc. have been started in subjects,viz.,Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Animal Physiology, Animal & Gynaecoligy, Animal Nutrition, Dairy Husbandry Pathology and Parasitology. Besides,there is one Veterinary Service and Animal Husbandry school at Ghoongoor in Cachar district to impart training in elementary service to the untrained Veterinary Field Asistant, Livestock Demonstrator and Stock-man of the Department as well as to the outsider. The course of training is of one year duration and six months for the department staff in the condensed.

Training institutes and Centres : There are eleven training centres in the State. Of these,there are upgraded GRAM SEVAK TRAINING CENTRE located one each at Jorhat (Jorhat), Khanapara (Kamrup) and Arunachal (Cachar) for imparting training to the Gram Sevaks. There is also one GRAM SEVIKA CENTRE at Jorhat (Jorhat) to impart training to the Gram Sevikas. Ten days to three months farmer's training also is imparted in the GRAM SEVAK TRAINING CENTRE. Four Farm-Machinaery Training centres which provide one month training in handling farm machinery and equipment are located at Khanapara, Sabaharua, Arunachal and Jorhat.

Tocklai Experimental Station : The Tocklai Experimental Station is the research headquarters of the Scientific Department of the Indian Tea Association. This Scientific Department is financed and run entirely by the Association,and provides a research and advisory service for the North Indian Tea Industry. Research is carried out on the culture and manufacture of tea,and the results of this research and other useful information are disseminated by the Department's advisory officers.

The service of the Tocklai station and its advisory officers are available to both I.T.A. member estates and non-member estates. The latter have to pay fees for these service in liue of the subscription to the I.T.A.

The scientific Department of the Indian Tea Association was inaugurated in 1900 in Calcutta. Dr. H.H. Menn was appointed Scientific and was given working room in the Indian Museum in the laboratory of the Economic Chemist to the Government of India.

In 1902,a new field experimental station was opened at Sikha T.E. Mariani, Assam and in 1906,an Entomologist was appointed.

In 1911,it was decided to centralise the work of the various branches and Experimental Station was opened at Tocklai near Cinnamara, Assam.

After the First World War,Mr. Carpenter became Chief Scientific Officer and on his suggestions a period of expansion was started,which lasted until the financial depression of 1931.

Between 1935 and 1939,following the recommendation of Commission of Enquiry headed by prof. Sir Frank Engledow there was further expansion of staff and service.

The period of World War II,however,saw further setbacks in the work of the Station.

In the post-war years,a second Commission of Enquiry again headed by Sir Frnak Engledow was constitute in 1953,and following his recommendations, published in 1954,the greatest period of expansion in the history of Tocklai took place.

 

The following list shows the branches functioning at present,and gives notes on their activities.

The Physico-Chemical branch deal with the soil and climate of the tea growing areas. The functions are to find the factors in these environments which are favourable or otherwise to tea,to define suitable condition and try different methods of ameliorating unfavourable factors.

The Botany branch deals with the tea plant. Its functions are to distinguish between different types of tea to select and propagate by suitable means the best types for different regions,and to study metabolism of the tea plant in relation to this environment.

The Agricultural branch deals with the culture of the tea crop cultivation, manuring shade, pruning, plucking,etc. Its main work is to test effect of different cultural treatments,different types of tea,its yield,and quality,etc.,in field experiments under garden conditions. This branch is responsible for the experimental garden at Borbheta situated about 4.83 km. from the main Tocklai Station and consists of total of about 101.17 hectare,of which approximately 40.47 hectare are under tea.

The Plant Pathology branch deals with pests and diseases of tea bushes and of shade trees. The branch comprises sections for entomology,mycology and pesticide testing.

The Bio-chemistry branch is engaged in elucidating the chemical differences in tea leaf all stages of associated with different types of tea culture practices and manufacturing methods,and to correlate these with flavour, quality, etc. This branch co-operates closely with Indian Tea Association Laboratory in London. There is close co-operation between this branch and the Engineering Department Branch.

The Engineering branch,established in 1951 at Tocklai,specialises in design of tea machinery and investigation of mechanisation in both the field and the factory.

 

A Statistical Department under it was set up in 1958. It has two Advisory Branches-one for Assam and its adjoining areas and the other for West Bengal each with its own Chief Advisory Officer.

In Assam,sub-stations are maintained in Cachar and on the north Bank. In West Bengal,there is a sub-station in Darjeeling for the Darjeeling Terai and Western Duars area. Two Assistant Advisory Officers are employed with the special task of assisting gardens,not member of the I.T.A.

The work of the Scientific Department is brought to the tea planter by means of Tocklai Scientific Memoranda, by the Tea Encyclopaedia and the quarterly News Letter,Two leaves and a Bud.

Over the years the work of the Tovklai has contributed largely to the continued success of the tea industry.

Extensive investigations have been carried out in cultivation manuring, pruning and plucking, green crops,shade,plant breeding and propagations,etc.,and an

active Pathology Department has done much to minimise the damage of pests and diseases throughout the industry. Modern mechinery has been developed and new methods of manufacture also investigated.

To enable these investigations to be carried out,an average of about 50 field experiments have been in operation annually over the last 20 years. The majority of these are being carried out in the Association's own experimental garden at Barbheta near Tocklai, although many are replicated in various districts of North East India. The former are under the supervision of the Agricultural Branch,and the latter under the joint supervision of the Agricultural Branch and the Station advisory officers.

It should be noted that the most of the work of the Scientific Department has been possible by the co-operation of members of the Indian Tea Association in whose gardens and factories,many of the experiments have been carried out.

Agro-Economic Research Cetre for North-east India at Jorhat : The Agro-Economic Research Centre for N.E. India has been established in February 1960 in the campus of Assam Agricultural University as an autonomous research institution under auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-opeartion, New Delhi and the entire finance of the Centre is being furnished by the Ministry. The administrative and technical control of the Centre is under the Economic and Statistical Adviser, government of India,functioning under the same Ministry and it is being carried out through an Advisory Body under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor of the Assam Agricultural University.

The functions assigned to the Centre, inter alia,are as follows :-

1.To make a study of changes in rural economy by means of survey of number of selected villages each year and re-survey of the same group of villages at intervals of five years.

2.To conduct adhoc investigations into problems of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

3.To carry on research work on fundamental problems relating to the agricultural economy of the country.

4.To give technical advice to the Government of India and the State Government on such issues as with mutual agreement may be referred to the Centre.

The jurisdiction of the Agro-Economic Research Centre covers the entire North-Eastern Region including Sikkim. The present anatomy of the Centre seems to be quite small in comparison to its area of coverage.

The Centre within a short period of its existence could cover some of the assignments in respect of studies in rural change and some problematic studies concerning rural economy. Two reports on the bench-mark surveys of two tribal villages have been completed. Kanther Terang a typical Jhum village in the district of Karbi Anglong, Assam and Kathaliachaerra government-sponsored Jhumia settlement colony in Tripura have covered some of the basic problems connected with Jhumming or shifting cultivation. An adhoc study on the State Trading in paddy in Assam has been done. Moreover the bench-mark surveys of Morangaon in the district of Sibsagar and the resurvey of Dispur,a village in the district of Kamrup and Chotabaibar, village in the district of Nagaon, also have been completed. Over and above its regular programme of continuous village surveys,the Centre proposes to undertake problem oriented studies concerning the Tribal communities of the region.